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Hmong smoking prevalence & tobacco uses

Institution: California State University, Fresno Foundation
Investigator(s): Vickie Krenz, Ph.D., M.S.P.H. Pao Fang,
Award Cycle: 2001 (Cycle 10) Grant #: 10AT-1101 Award: $539,350
Subject Area: Tobacco-Use Prevention and Cessation
Award Type: Full CARA

Initial Award Abstract
Tobacco use continues to be the single most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Among Asia American/Pacific Islanders, there is an estimated 12,000 premature deaths each year. Cigarette smoking and tobacco use among Asian/Pacific Islanders are varied, ranging from 43% among Southeast Asians to 28% among Chinese. Studies that have targeted Southeast Asians have focused primarily on Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese. However, there are no studies that estimate the smoking prevalence among the Hmong. The “Hmong Cultural Practices and Patterns of Tobacco Use” project explored Hmong cultural patterns and practices of tobacco use among 218 Hmong ranging in ages 12 to 70 years. The preliminary findings indicated that traditional Hmong tobacco practices have commonly used tobacco for wedding ceremonies, funerals, spirit healing/calling rituals (“neng”), and medicinal purposes. Further analysis indicated that young adults (10-18 years) perceived their tobacco use as experimentation and “to hang out with friends”, while middle adults perceived smoking tobacco as a “personal choice.” The elders perceived smoking tobacco as a “privilege” and the belief that smoking tobacco “numbs the pains of old age.”

The focus of this project is to expand the preliminary findings of the “Hmong Cultural Practices and Patterns of Tobacco Use” project. The project will determine the smoking prevalence rates of the Hmong residing in California. The specific aims of the project are: (1) to determine the smoking prevalence and tobacco uses of the Hmong, and (2) to develop culturally appropriate tobacco prevention strategies in the Hmong population.

Using the initial survey instrument piloted in the previous study, this project will determine the smoking prevalence rates and tobacco use patterns by: (1) a random sample of Hmong adults, 18 years and older, and (2) a representative sample of Hmong youth, 17 years and younger. Data will be collected on Hmong adults from ten cities in California. A total of 3,000 subjects will be included in the proposed project. Door-to-door surveys will be conducted in cities with the highest populations of Hmong in California. Census blocks with high concentrations of Hmong residents will be randomly selected and residents in every fourth house/apartment will be recruited for participation in the project. To determine the smoking prevalence rate and tobacco patterns among Hmong youth, a representative sample with a minimum of 750 participants will be recruited for participation. Following parental consent, participants will be administered the survey instrument. Data from the Hmong adults and youth will be analyzed for smoking prevalence rates, demographic variables, acculturation, experience with tobacco customs, tobacco uses, locations where Hmong smoke tobacco, and sources of tobacco information. Odds ratios with 95% confidence levels will be used to determine statistically significant differences. The expected outcomes of this project are two-fold: (1) to determine the smoking prevalence of tobacco among the Hmong, and (2) to develop culturally appropriate tobacco prevention strategies for this unique cultural group.